Hurricane Ian is bearing down on South Carolina, and although the state frequently encounters strong storms due to its location along the southeastern coast, it hasn’t been on the receiving end of a hurricane landfall since Hurricane Matthew in 2016. At the height of its strength, Matthew was a Category 5 storm in the Caribbean and ultimately blasted into Haiti as a strong Category 4 storm, the first storm to make landfall there at that strength since 1964. Matthew left the country in ruins and was blamed for more than 500 deaths there.

In a 5 a.m. EDT update, the National Hurricane Center said the storm had maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour, with higher gusts.

Flooding rains are likely across the Carolinas and southern Virginia.

The center of the hurricane will approach and reach the coast of South Carolina on Friday and then shift farther inland across eastern South Carolina and central North Carolina on Friday night and on Saturday.

Little change in strength is expected before it reaches the coast and rapid weakening is projected following landfall.

The hurricane is forecast to become an extratPropical low over North Carolina on Friday night or on Saturday. The low is then expected to dissipate by Saturday night.

Follow live updates here.

 

Large portions of Ft. Meyers, Florida were destroyed in the hurricane. Photos shared on social media early Thursday showing trees had damaged property and blocked roadways in the wake of now Tropical Storm Ian.

Ian destroyed a section of the Sanibel Causeway, which connects Sanibel Island and Captiva with mainland Florida, preventing all access for ground vehicles.